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After decades of thinking all fat is bad fat and causes you to get fat, it turns out that not all fats are created equal. Some of them are actually good for you and you need to consume fat to stay alive and healthy. Certain vitamins can only be absorbed by the body if consumed with some sort of fat. And there are various parts of your body, including your heart, that need fat to run smoothly and stay healthy. I have had conversations with many women who are still really affected by the years of promotion of the low fat diet and struggle to accept that they need fat in their diets, Is this you?
At first glance it makes sense to cut fat from your diet when you want to lose excess body fat. That’s been the basis behind every single diet from 1950 to 1990. It lead to the development and sale of countless low fat and fat free foods that still populate our grocery stores today. The idea of eating low fat has become deeply ingrained into our collective cultural conscious. The only problem is that it didn’t work.
Yes, you can lose weight on a low calorie, low fat diet. Plenty of people have done it. But it takes a lot of willpower, and the vast majority of people can’t stick to it long term. They end up giving up and gaining more weight back then they lost in the first place. Our bodies are genetically engineered to crave fat. It’s what keeps us going, keeps us warm, and keeps up our energy levels.
While fat does have a lot more calories than the same amount of carbs or protein, it takes a long time to digest fat. It keeps us full and satisfied much longer than any other type of food. Does that mean you should go on a bacon and butter diet with a sprinkle of deep fried foods? Of course not. First off, we need to strive for balance and shouldn’t compensate for our past low fat diets that only made us fatter by overindulging in fats. Balance is the name of the game when it comes to healthy weight loss. We especially still need a good amount of vegetables in our diets on a daily basis.
Secondly, not all fats are created equal.
While there is still a lot to be learned about fats and the role they play in the many chemical process that take place in our bodies, we know that some fats are better for us than others. I’m sure you’ve heard of saturated fats, unsaturated fats, trans fats, and mono-unsaturated fats. Stay away from mostly man-made trans fats and most poly-saturated fats, both of which have been linked to an increased risk in heart disease.. These include margarine, vegetable oils, corn oil, and soybean oil. both of which have been linked to an increased risk in heart disease.
The main fat you want to increase is mono-unsaturated fats. These types of fats will help lower your bad cholesterol and increase the good one. They will help your body repair itself and run at its best. Think of it as high performance fuel for your body.
Let’s quickly run through a few sources of healthy fats that you want to eat more of.
Avocado – This is one of my favorite healthy fats. Add this delicious fruit to salads, sandwiches, wraps, or eat it on the side with eggs or grilled meat. Also delicious mashed up on toast or turned into guacamole and even in smoothies!
Coconut Oil – Start your day with a healthy fat boost by adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to your coffee. This oil is also great for cooking eggs or sautéing veggies. Refined coconut oil should be tasteless, while some other versions leave you with a hint of coconut flavor. So if you don’t like the coconut flavor look for refined coconut oil from companies like Wildly Organic.
Olives And Olive Oil – Olive oil makes a great base for salad dressings. It can be used to finish and flavor all sorts of food. Both olive oil and olives have long been staples of the Mediterranean Diet. Look for cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil. Olives make delicious portable snacks.
Nuts And Seeds – Speaking of nuts., another healthy snack that you can keep at your desk, in your purse, and in your pantry is various nuts and seeds. They are full of healthy fats, vitamins and mineral. Eat them on their own, make your own healthy trail mix, or sprinkle them on your salad.
Butter – Unless you are intolerant to dairy, butter is a wonderful addition to the diet and should be enjoyed by all who can. If you are on a low carb diet, you won’t be putting this on a slice of bread (too many carbs), but you can put it on your vegetables, and in sauces.
Fish – Fish, especially salmon can be a wonderful source of healthy fats. Salmon, lake trout, mackerel, herring, sardines and tuna are all high in omega 3 fatty acids, which is important for heart health and much more. It is critically important that you know the sourcing of your fish before you purchase. Farmed fish is not a healthy choice these days because these fish are often raised with antibiotics, chemicals, and other pesticides, which are not helpful to our bodies. Many people also have concern about mercury in fish and this is a valid concern, but it seems again that it is still of more value to get fish is your diet at least once/week as benefits will outweigh the risks.
So what healthy fats are you putting in your diet? Do you have any to add to this list? Please comment below and share this post on social media so others may benefit.